United States star Carli Lloyd admitted her ambition of becoming an NFL kicker may have to be parked for an extra year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The two-time Women's World Cup winner has made no secret of her NFL dream, and she caught the eye last August when drilling a series of field goals while visiting a Philadelphia Eagles practice session.

USA veteran and long-time Eagles fan Lloyd is convinced she could become the first woman to play in the NFL.

Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen last year said he would be prepared to school Lloyd in the intricacies of kicking a pigskin with the precision she shoots a soccer ball.

But an unexpected possible stumbling block surfaced when the Tokyo Olympics had to be pushed back to 2021, meaning Lloyd, 37, will focus on her established sports career for a while longer.

Asked about the NFL plans, Lloyd said: "I'm focusing on soccer at the moment, but I've always been a kid who loves a challenge and I've never backed down from any challenge.

"I know with proper training and the right technique and someone showing me how to properly kick, I know that I can do it.

"It may have to get pushed a year or so. I know the times right now are a little up in the air, so we'll see. I'm not ruling it out."

The global health crisis has had a major knock-on effect on the sporting world, and Lloyd must stay on her game deeper into her thirties than she might have envisaged, to stay in with a shot of playing another Olympics.

She already has two gold medals, from the 2008 and 2012 Games.

Speaking in a streamed Yahoo and Women's Sports Foundation event, she confirmed a determination to be a part of the US team in Japan.

Lloyd said: "For me now it's another year to be able to prepare, to be able to push the boundaries, the barriers, of becoming more fit, stronger, to better my game, and I'm excited about it."

Despite the allure of the NFL, she may have stayed in football in 2021, anyway.

"It gives me another year, because I didn't think I was going to be ready to be done after this year, so I get another year to play," she said.

"Everyone's talking about the age. It's a year later; it's not going to make much difference because I'm feeling at the top of my game and feeling really, really good right now."

Katie Ledecky is hitting her books at Stanford rather than worrying about the Tokyo Olympics - but she is missing the thrill of competition during the coronavirus crisis.

Four years ago in Rio, Ledecky was the most decorated female competitor at the Games with four gold medals and a silver in the swimming pool. United States team-mate Simone Biles grabbed four gold and a bronze in gymnastics.

Freestyle maestro Ledecky had hoped to go for the top podium step again in Japan this year, but the global health crisis put paid to that.

Now 23, Ledecky faces a further year's wait before she can challenge for more Olympic glory, and it is the uncertainty over when competition of any kind can begin that complicates the life of many a top athlete.

The US Olympic trials will take place in June 2021, so Ledecky at least has a sense of when she needs to find peak form.

"I'm happy to have something to be shooting for, but we have a lot of meets we want to have between now and then and we want to resume normal training," Ledecky said on Saturday.

"It's hard right now to plan things out but we're doing the best we can. We're taking it day by day and trying to win each day."

Speaking in a Yahoo Sports and Women's Sports Foundation call, Ledecky explained how studying had helped. She is majoring in psychology.

"I'm still a student at Stanford so i just started some spring quarter classes this past week," she said. "It's been really great to keep my mind active and do something productive during this time."

The daily routines Ledecky has had for so many years have gone out of the window.

"I haven't had access to normal training facilities. I'm not able to train in the weight room and with my trainer and my team-mates and all of those things," she said.

"I've just had to be adaptive to the circumstances and use the resources that I do have. All the athletes around the world have to take responsibility for their actions and really follow the guidelines.

"I'm hopeful my fellow Olympians around the world are all doing the same thing and we're all able to focus on what's important now which is staying inside and doing our part."

Yohan Blake, the 2012 double Olympic silver medallist, has been making the most of the downtime brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic. The 30-year-old sprinter has been spending a lot of his time in training and playing a bit of back-yard cricket.

Chad le Clos should have been cleaning up at Olympic trials this week but instead he's been consigned to washing the dishes after being schooled by his dad at poker.

Le Clos had been expecting a double celebration this weekend after competing in the South African National Swimming Championships in Durban.

South Africa's most decorated Olympian turns 28 on Sunday and will still celebrate with the family, but the usual post-Olympics party will have to wait until next year after the Tokyo Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Le Clos has been in lockdown for a fortnight following a sharp exit from his Turkish training base, where he had relocated after being forced to leave a camp in Italy amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Durban native is optimistic he can strike gold in Japan if he plays his cards right, but revealed it is his charismatic father Bert - who became a poolside star at London 2012 after his son was crowned 200-metre butterfly champion - who has been holding all the aces during isolation.

Asked how he has been spending his time in quarantine, Le Clos told Stats Perform: "Me and my dad made a nice cooking video, and I've been hanging outdoors quite a lot. 

"We are playing a lot of poker, a crazy amount of poker. My dad is a really good player, me and my brother have been playing about five or six years. We've been playing every night to pass the time.

"We are playing for things like doing the dishes, breakfast in the morning, pancakes. I've been doing all the dishes, I've been so bad!"

Le Clos is philosophical about the Olympics being put back 12 months as he deals with the hand he has been given and revealed it is not only his schedule that will need to be altered as he sets his sights on being the ace in the pack in Tokyo.

He added: "It's crazy to think how things have changed, I should have been competing and I'm in lockdown.

"It's my birthday this weekend, so there would have been an extra celebration but it's all good.

"My family had all these Tokyo 2020 Le Clos supporter t-shirts made that they were going to come round to the party in, so we have to change that to 2021!"

Chad le Clos was in the best shape of his life before the Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus but warned his rivals he will be even more formidable in Tokyo next year.

Le Clos should have been competing in the final day of the South African National Swimming Championships on Thursday, but instead he was in lockdown at home with his family.

South Africa's most decorated Olympian, Le Clos felt ready to strike gold in Japan until the Games were called off just four months before they were scheduled to start.

The Durban native is hungrier than ever for Olympic glory after returning from Rio four years ago with two silver medals, one of which he hopes will be changed to gold after Sun Yang - winner of the 200-metre freestyle final - was given an eight-year ban for breaching anti-doping rules.

Le Clos, crowned Olympic 200m butterfly champion at London 2012, vowed to ensure he is at the peak of his powers back on the big stage next year.

He told Stats Perform: "Obviously it was a shame that the Olympics were called off, but it was something you cannot control.

"I'm ready to go again next year, I'm in good shape. I have an extra 12 years to be even better.

"I feel like I'm getting better, I feel like I was in the best shape of my life a couple of weeks ago. I'm confident I can come back, hopefully be better than I was in London and Rio and will be in the best shape possible next year."

Le Clos, who turns 28 on Sunday, is hopeful he will also head to the Paris 2024 Olympics in search of adding to his medal haul.

He added: "I think I can get to two more [Olympics], I think I'll be very competitive in the next one for sure.

"Again in 2024, we'll see what happens, it's a long way away but I'm just happy to be in the position that I'm in.

"I'm comfortable with where I'm at, we train really well and I'm very motivated. I lost my motivation after London, but I'm back to where I was now. I'm hungrier and I really want to be successful at the Olympics, I want to win again."

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced the world of sports into a standstill and as a consequence, has significantly impacted the ability of athletes to earn a living.

Ato Boldon is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful Olympic athletes having won four medals between the Atlanta Games in 1996 and the Sydney Games four years later.

World Athletics has suspended the qualification period for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games until December 1.

The coronavirus pandemic last month forced the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to postpone the Games until July 23, 2021.

In line with that decision, World Athletics has decided – in consultation with its Athletes' Commission, area presidents and Council – to alter the qualification period, meaning any results between April 6 and November 30 will not count towards Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings.

Although qualification status cannot be achieved or boosted in this time, results shall continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, and athletes who had already met entry standards before April 6 will remain qualified.

Should the global situation improve, qualification will resume on December 1 and run through to new deadlines, which are no later than June 29, 2021.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: "I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our Athletes' Commission and Council, who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation, and is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions."

The organisation also confirmed as of Tuesday, 50 per cent of their "HQ staff" have been furloughed.

The government of Monaco will contribute 70 per cent of the wages of those staff in question, with World Athletics topping up the rest to ensure employees are paid their salary in full.

Coe added: "This decision, made possible by the Monaco government, means we will focus only on business-critical activities for the short-term, which will help us manage our cashflow effectively and protect jobs in the long-term.

"All World Athletics HQ staff will remain on their full salaries during this period with the organisation topping up the Monaco government's contribution.

"We have taken care to ensure the support and services we provide to our member federations, areas, partners, stakeholders, athletes and the wider athletics community remain in place with a reduced team."

Though disappointed that the Olympics has been postponed for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Janathan 'Musfasa' Hanson says he refuses to be put off by the setbacks brought on by the nightmarish situation.

Firstly, the most important question: how is the family?

"We're all good," Wayde van Niekerk tells Stats Perform. "Most importantly, everyone is very healthy. Everyone is starting to invest now in exercises and more healthy decisions so that's actually nice to see and something that's a positive out of our current circumstances."

Looking for positives in the coronavirus pandemic can be tough. Then again, Van Niekerk has never been one to shirk a challenge. The 400 metre Olympic champion, the first man in history to run a single lap of the track faster than Michael Johnson, the figure tipped by Usain Bolt himself to usurp the Jamaican great as the poster-boy of athletics, has endured a sort of self-isolation from the wider public consciousness over the past couple of years.

Van Niekerk's victory at the 2016 Rio Olympics was done in a world-record time of 43.03, beating Johnson's 17-year best and coming agonisingly close to the magic 43-second barrier. A year later, in the seldom-run 300m, he eclipsed Johnson and Bolt's best times to set a record 30.81 in Ostrava, eight days after a personal best of 9.94 in the 100m.

In so doing, Van Niekerk became the first sprinter in history to break the 10-second, 20-second, 31-second and 44-second barriers for the 100m, 200m, 300m and 400m, respectively. At the World Championships in London in August 2017, he took silver in the 200m and gold in the 400m, defending that title from Beijing two years earlier. Not bad for a man given 24 hours to live when he was born 11 weeks prematurely, who spent his first two weeks of life in intensive care, and who was bullied as a scrawny schoolboy.

Then, in a charity touch rugby match in October 2017, Van Niekerk suffered medial and lateral tears of the meniscus and a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He needed surgery. The 2018 season was written off, meaning he missed the Commonwealth Games. After a winning return in Bloemfontein some 17 months later, Van Niekerk "pushed a bit too hard" and bruised a bone in his knee in training. More months off the track followed; there would be no third world title in a row.

"Missing out on the Commonwealths, I could get over it, but a world champs was very difficult," he admits.

"I got some time to train with the guys in Europe and I was basically prepping for the World Championships, so picking up the bone bruise and then still trying to work towards getting fitness but not quite getting there and seeing off the team and greeting everyone was quite an emotional experience. But it definitely did spark a massive hunger inside me and I think, for myself, I use that as motivation to make sure that when I get a chance again, I'm not going to take it for granted."

That chance was supposed to be 2020, and Tokyo. "I've entered this year as a normal season, so I felt I was ready to compete, I felt I was ready to run. I was training and working as any other year. I made decisions as if I'm about to do a season as usual, so mentally and physically my mind and heart was there."

Then came COVID-19. As sporting events around the world were pushed back or cancelled, the IOC dithered over moving the Olympics, leaving athletes to continue preparations under clouds of uncertainty. It was particularly worrying for Van Niekerk: as social distancing became the norm in countries across the globe, he was obliged to keep up his training programme despite his coach, 77-year-old Ans Botha, being at risk of serious illness if infected.

"It was definitely scary," he says. "It was kind of difficult to communicate with her each and every day and she was right there in front of me. I did not know how to communicate with coach and how to interact with coach knowing how easily she could get affected.

"At that moment, we saw how quickly it was spreading in China and Italy and countries in Europe and we knew it wouldn't be long before it entered our country. That kind of scared me: it's an invisible virus which travels, so I wouldn't even know I'm interacting with coach and spreading the virus to her, so I'm glad she's safe now and can stay away from harm so that, when we get back to work, she'll be ready and healthy."

On March 24, organisers acted at last, postponing the Games until July 23 next year. For many athletes, it was a disheartening blow; for Van Nierkerk, it was "definitely a relief".

"My coach being quite elderly makes it quite difficult for me to focus only on training, knowing that I'm around her all the time and how easily the virus can spread and how quickly it attacks the elderly. It definitely did take a bit of a weight off my shoulders in terms of that," he says.

"Also, we weren't mentally training the way we would love to. I guess the fact the Olympics has been shifted takes a bit of stress off us, and now we can work on keeping our social distancing and staying away from spreading the virus and making sure we kill this thing so we can go back to life as we know it.

"I don't have any issues with the decisions that were made. Working towards next season and what's left of this season, I want to make sure I'm in good shape and use it as building blocks for the Olympics next year. I see it as a healthy year for myself, where I can use it for building and strengthening that I still believe I need to work on."

South Africa won praise for a proactive approach to containing the spread of coronavirus, with swift lockdown measures helping to keep confirmed cases below 2,000 and deaths in single figures as of April 5. Van Niekerk has been training at home – "I'm very privileged and blessed," he says, to have a large back garden and gym to use – and he supports the government's approach. "I think we've also seen a positive reaction to it – a lot of people are obedient to it, a lot of people are distancing themselves from society and from spreading the virus, so I see it as positive decisions that our country's leaders have made."

After so much time out through injury, there is still frustration at having to wait another year for the Olympics, but Van Niekerk, clearly, is not one for negativity. Running at unofficial meets early this year over 100m and 200m, including back home in Bloemfontein, were "quite fun", he says. "Seeing that I still have the speed and still have the strength gave me quite a bit of a boost, and it just gave me a lot of hunger to keep working harder and more efficiently, so that I can be in the best shape for the Olympics. I'm basically just trying to continue off that so I can be in the best shape of my life in Tokyo."

The immediate goal might be Olympics gold, but Van Niekerk may have more than a medal collection in his sights. He has spoken of wanting to leave a legacy and, while going sub-43 over 400m is the obvious target, his love of the shorter races points at a possible bid for sprinting's triple crown. Bolt was king of the 100m and 200m; Johnson ruled from the half-lap to the 400m. To conquer all three would set Van Niekerk apart.

It's a remarkable dream, but Van Niekerk, inspired by Liverpool's Premier League title charge and watching friends and family win the Rugby World Cup last year, is a remarkable athlete.

His is a sport where dozens of people put in hundreds of hours of work often just so one person has one chance of glory, be it with a jump, a throw, or a dash to the line. But he remembers the challenges life threw at him; he remembers those who were with him from those tough beginnings and all the way to August 15, 2016, where one lap of the track in Rio changed his world. And he has never forgotten them. He looks back now not just on the time on the clock or the medal around his neck, but on the people who were there to share it all.

He recalled: "It was definitely... I was quite nervous. But I felt comfortable, I felt confident in myself. I had an amazing season before, put up some great times. But coming to a Games itself, you need to put in that hard work to make sure that you execute what you've worked for. During that process, it was just about staying calm, staying composed, controlling the controllables and executing the race as best I can.

"Breaking the world record itself was amazing. I had my family over there and it was amazing and a great way to end my competition, knowing they were there, spending time with them and celebrating with them. Also, the team: my coach, my management team, my sponsors and so on, it was a great experience knowing I could break the world record and honour everyone associated with me for their hard work and sacrifices they put in to put me where I am today. I'll forever be grateful for it.

"But my mind and my heart are honestly focused on the future and my legacy. It's never been a secret that I want to go sub-43 and it's also no secret how much I love the 100 and 200, so I definitely want to start investing in growth, in every single event that I do, and improve myself every year until the day I retire and whatever legacy comes from that. That's where my focus is at: just to grow and be up there with the greats in the world."

Ben Ainslie expects athletes set to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will be relieved by the postponement.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has pushed the Games back by 12 months due to the spread of coronavirus, which has infected over a million people worldwide.

Sailor Ainslie, a four-time Olympic champion, has backed the decision and feels competitors will be grateful for the clarity the switch brings.

He told Stats Perform: "If you were in the IOC's position and Tokyo's position it must have been an incredibly tough decision when you think about the scheduling, the preparations, dare I say it the commercial impact, although that shouldn't really be the main consideration I'm sure it would have been a big consideration.

"The fact they came to a decision relatively early, I think they deserve some credit for that.  

“I think it was absolutely the right decision. It was clearly going to be a massive risk as planned. Then if you look at a six-month delay, you're competing in the middle of the winter in Japan which isn't going to work for a lot of sports, so I absolutely agree with the decision.

"What does it mean for the athletes and competitors? I think most of them, frankly, will just be relieved there's certainty.

"It would have been a massive risk if they'd tried to continue and gambled on the virus clearing away in time for the games.

"So, I think there'll be relief and they'll start now planning what does the next 18 months look like for them in terms of their programme.

"We talk a lot about peaking in sport. They would have all been working up to peaking this summer. Now they are probably going to have to, not take their foot off the gas, but they're going to have to reschedule their programmes to make sure that they're then ramping back up for the games.

"Also, what will the event schedule look like next year? It's unlikely there'll be that many events for the rest of this year, so how do they get their race practice up in 2021?

"So, some challenges there, but if I were an Olympian I'd frankly be bloody relieved they've come to the right decision and it was going ahead still." 

Australia star Andrew Bogut is "still very keen" to play at the Olympics despite the Tokyo Games being pushed back until 2021.

Bogut, 35, was expected to lead the Boomers at the Olympics this year, but the Games have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It led to questions over Bogut's future, but the Olympics remain a goal for the veteran, an NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.

"I'm still very keen. Obviously the plans for me were to get to the Olympics this year and then reassess," he told SEN on Thursday.

"That's been thrown out of the window. I'm still up in the air about exactly what I'm going to do and how I go about my journey getting there and all that, I still haven't decided one way or another.

"I think it's going to be a moving parts type thing and I think the main priority right now is to get this pandemic squashed.

"Then, we can all make real-world decisions about our jobs and our families and all that kind of stuff, but until that happens it's kind of senseless to make decisions based on not knowing when the future's going to be open slather again."

Australia have never won a medal in men's basketball at the Olympics, but finished fourth at the Rio Games in 2016.

World Athletics has named Cuba’s Ana Quirot winning gold medals at the 1995 and 1997 World Championships, among 10 of the greatest athletics moments of triumph over adversity.

Following the postponement of this year’s Olympic Games, Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste has revealed that she already has one eye on life after athletics.

Like several others, the 33-year-old many-time national champions was hoping to line up for a chance to claim a historic gold medal for her country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Due to the world being forced to turn their attention to battling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic those plans have now been shelved, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announcing that the games had been moved to next year.

While staying focused on being prepared to take up the challenge when it arises in a year’s time, Baptiste insists she is already focused on her endgames.  Unsurprisingly, the athlete conveyed that she had already begun considering how to best aid in the development of future T&T talent.  Unexpectedly, however, she may also pursue a career in interior design.

“Since the Games have been cancelled (postponed) I am shifting my focus for a while on how best I can serve the younger athletes, while also working and growing my styling and photography business,” Baptiste told Trinidad’s 7pmnews.

“I’ve taken a liking to styling and photographing interiors and hope to establish a career doing so.  I always want to give back to the younger athletes at home and I’m in the process of brainstorming ways that I can.”

Grenadian Olympic gold medallist Kirani James admits to being uneasy over the uncertainly surrounding the rest of the track and field season but does not believe he will be severely impacted by the cancellation of the Olympic Games this year.

After months of deliberation and some amount of hesitance, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the Games would be pushed forward by a year, as the world struggles to come to grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

For thousands of athletes around the world, the news would come as a hammer blow with months of preparation upended and a year added to a chance to shine at athletics signature events.  For some, already struggling to make a final appearance due to aging, aching limbs it was even a tougher pill to swallow.  The 27-year-old James, who is already a World and Olympic champions, does not fall into that category. 

“I don’t think so (Impacts chance of medaling at next Olympics), at least not right now. It is what it is,” the former University of Alabama sprinter told TideSports.

“It’s not the fault of anything we can control. We just take it as what it is and try our best to prepare. That’s the decision they came to and we have to accept it. We have to prepare as best as we can.”

Like the majority, he believes it was a necessary evil.   

“The way I see it is, for them to postpone it, they’re taking this pandemic very seriously and I’m sure if there was a way where they could keep it for this year, they would have.  Obviously, they exhausted all their options. It is what it is. At the end of the day, safety and health trumps the Olympics every time,” he added.

James won the 400m gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, after claiming gold at the World Championships one year prior.  The sprinter then went on to claim silver behind world-record breaker Wayde van Niekerk at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  James saw his career severely hampered after being diagnosed with Graves' disease.  He has since recovered and was confident things were progressing well for Tokyo before the delays.

“Training was good. It was very consistent, the workouts and everything.  Really it was just gearing up for the start of the season in April. Everything was on track.”

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